In the Cold Summer Mornings of Finland

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'In the cold summer mornings of Finland, at eight-years-old, I hang on the monkey bars on the school’s playground, pretending they area pirate ship, sailing to the ocean blue. My friends, Ashner and Jonne (yonna), see me playing on the jungle gym and come to join in my quest. “We’re going to find the buried treasure in the Dead Sea! We’ll over come any bad things and we shall save any hurt, fallen men and kill any evil person. We will be the masters of the earth!” Damien declared taking hold of the plastic wheel connected to the gratified metal. “Onward to no mans’ land!” and our imagination took flight.


The sun started to set and the boat disappeared from our view. We said our goodbyes, and I watched them leave, getting in their cars. I turn in my place, treading my way home, feeling my parents have left me to walk home. The snow started to pick up, ice formed on the ground, and it got harder to breath as the sun slips farther into the horizon. I pull my coat closer as the wind starts to flow up my shirt. Cold tears form as the wind harshly blows in my eyes. Two more blocks of this weather and it worsened. My legs start to move on their own accord, making me run home, possibly saving my life, until I got home.


I made it to my warm home, with a little more to no feeling left in my hands and feet, thinking they might have fallen off if I didn’t get home at that time. I took off my coat and shoes, feeling the cold of my wet pants on my bare feet with each step I take. A crash traveled to my ears, as does shouting from my father. “You w****!” Another crash, coming from where they are, follows me as I raced to my room, closing the door with a bang and I retreated to the corner of my bed. I curled up into a ball, closing my eyes, and listened to my father continue. “He was never mine?” his voice heightened in question then he continued, “Learn your place in the world!” An explosion comes from outside my room, and a loud screech runs through the room, to my ears, and I hear my mother’s death.

When the screams stopped and silence blared in my ears, I slowly crept to my door, reaching for the knob; turned it and poked my head out. Before I could react to anything, two giant hands grabbed my shoulders, pushed me to my bed, and held me down. A gun falls from my father’s jacket to the side of my head, right by my hand, enabling me to grab it. My father grabbed my neck, screaming, “It’s all your fault! Your mother is gone and it’s your entire fault! I want you gone, Damien! I want you to die! GET OUT OF MY---” with a shot from the gun, my father stopped speaking, and he falls limp on my petite form. Blood spewed from his gut and his eyes peered at me with hate, and I lay there crying, wanting to get away, but I had no strength. I felt my world float away, leaving nothing but a lonely boy without a heart.'

I open my eyes, feeling the warm sun hit my cold face, shining through my window. Even though that was ten years ago, to me, it feels like yesterday. I’m still haunted by the memories of that day when my father shot my mother, the only person I cared about in life. We were once a happy family, ‘till that day. I still don’t know how my father found out, but when he did, I lost my world, and what I once knew, and I lost my dream. From that day on, life stopped for me all together. Until two weeks ago, I lived in a small orphanage where I stayed dormant in myself, never showing emotion, never feeling the love from another person. In that orphanage, I found an obsession, and I found love, and now, heroin and pot became my memories. Every time I tried it, my mind went back to the time of my parents’ death, and I relived the times before it and I used it to block everything out. A few times after doing this, I lost my will to feel, and I didn’t need to feel bad for my mother anymore, nor did I need to hate my father, no, not anymore, not when I have drugs. They are my life, now, filling my lungs with smoke and the feelings of want and completeness.

A flick of my thumb on the silver wheel of the lighter creates flickers and shadows on the wall. Calmness forms in my mind as I put the drug into my mouth, taking a drag, warming my soul. I flip the radio on, hearing a song ‘Polly’ sang by Nirvana who just did an unplugged last year. I begin to sing my favorite part of it and grab my guitar to play along with them, “Polly wants a cracker. I think I need to get off her first…” I finish with a twirl of my guitar making it crash on the old sofa. I jump towards it, not meaning to have thrown it, and it falls on the sofa. Luckily it didn’t break or I would have been devastated. The only things I treasure in life are my drugs, guitar, my skateboard, and my snowboard. Those are the things that make me truly happy. I pick my guitar up again and strum it a few times more before a hard knocks begin at the door.

I open the door and my neighbor, Old Lady Margi, stands there with groceries in her one hand and her cell phone in the other. “What do you want, Grandma?” I snap.

“Damien, be a dear and help me take in my groceries, please,” Margi demands. I roll my eyes, taking up a few groceries and following her into her apartment. She starts to unload the groceries and speaks while doing so, “So, how’s your little problem coming along?”

I turn my head to the side and ask, “What little problem? I didn’t get in trouble, yet.” I pick up a can of peaches, juggling it in both hands.

“The little problem of doing drugs? Have you been taking care of it? If not, will I have to take you to the classes, so you don’t get in trouble?” she asks. ‘She asks too many questions.’ I throw the can up once more and she grabs it in mid-air. “Are you listening to me?”

“Yes, lady! You just ask too many questions that I don’t feel like answering! If you know what’s good for you, you’ll stay out of my business. And no you will not need to take me to the classes; I can take care of myself.” I walk over to the couch and flop down on it, picking up the remote and turning the T.V. on.

I hear bags thrown away, and groceries put away over the television. It gets harder to actually hear the news. ‘The worst part of it is that this is the sad news. Kurt Cobain has just been found dead! Music will change soon. Everything will be lighter and all the good music will be gone.’ Tears swell in my eyes as the newscast elaborates on the death of the best ‘grunge’ act. I hear Margi say one more thing, “… The cabinets are empty and I needed to get more…” I drown her out and walk out, going to my apartment.

I walk to my cabinet and open it to get my drugs. Heroin puts me in the best mood. When I take it, it numbs my nerves and I fall into unconsciousness. I decide not to pick the heroin; thinking remembering what happened would help me more. I grab the weed and light it. I take a few drags and puffs then everything starts to get blurry. After about a minute, I black out, leaving my body to do whatever it wants.

I later come back to my senses and find myself in a drug store, holding candy. I look at the clock above the counter, finding I’ve lost about thirteen hours of my day. I pay for the candy, taking my leave. I watch all the cars drive by as I walk down the sidewalk. I recognized the store as the Drug Center. My apartment can only be another three blocks from the Drug Center.

The sun has already gone behind the clouds and the rain starts to threaten to come down. The sky is black and I start to wonder what time it is, but I see no clocks around, so I keep walking.

I hear sirens coming towards me. They come in view and I see a cop car with two ambulances and a fire truck following it. They turn down a street I would turn going to my apartment. I look up into the sky, seeing smoke and other fumes flow. I run to get to my apartment faster, taking only five minutes.


As I reached my apartment, I see smoke coming from my neighbor’s apartment, Old Lady Margi. “Grandma.” I whisper to myself, running inside to find her.

I hear the shouts of the police behind me, “Hey kid! You can’t go in there!” I push past him, getting to “grandma”. I could only worry about her. I couldn’t let her die.

I run up the stairs, almost missing his step, and ran to Old Lady Margi’s apartment. The flames burst from the door, colliding with my hand and the handle. I push past the door and run for Old Lady Margi. I found her covering her head under her small cot. I hold my hand out, “Grab my hand and I’ll pull you out,” I demand.

Fear strikes her eyes and she yells, “NO! LEAVE ME ALONE!” Confused, I sit back on my heels and quickly think of what to do. I move the bed and pick her up, running out the door with her screaming, “Put me down!”

I make it out as soon as the fire makes it to my apartment. I sit her outside and the firemen attend to her. I run back in to my apartment to rescue my rat and two cats. I grabbed the money on my side dresser and the picture of my orphanage home. I ran back outside and watched the fire consume the apartment.

I turn to Old Lady Margi, seeing the fear in her eyes. ‘What did I do?’ I ask myself. ‘What happened during the black out?’ I walk towards the small old lady. She runs behind the officer taking care of her.

“What did I do? Why do you hate me, now?” I frantically question.

“You burnt my apartment!” she exclaimed. All the cops turn to me, about to cuff me, but I run. I don’t look back, not wanting to get caught or see the face of my neighbor and best friend, the tears that fall from her eyes.

I choke back my own tears, running to a run down garage. I sit in a corner and cry until I fall asleep.

The next morning, I wake up, finding a little baby poking my feet, which I found out were bare. He laughs every time he pokes them. He looks so cute in his little blue and green sweat suit. He looked to be around eight months to a year. I pick him up, feeling how light he is. A young woman, around twenty-four, comes running into the messed up room. “Sid!” she turns to see me holding the baby. She takes him from me. “He runs away and I can never find him. He’s turning out to be just like his father.” She chuckles. She holds out her free hand to me, “I’m Sophia and this brat, here, is Sid.” Sid laughs slapping my hand away before I could shake his tiny hand.


I laugh, “I’m Damien. Your baby is so cute.” I wag my finger at him, only to get it slapped away again. “I guess he takes after his mother.”


She laughs. “I only wish. My mother thinks he’ll have his daddy’s features,” She turns her head and lays it on Sid, shaking it, “Which is bad, because his daddy is an ugly person.”

I shake my head in response. “You sure are a character.”

“I try to be.” She smiles. “You wanna get a bite to eat?”

“Sure.” I take a closer step towards her. Sid decided he’ll let me hold him, so I take him from Sophia and we walk to the corner bakery.


From this day on, I stay away from the drugs, going ‘cold turkey’. Old Lady Margie started to trust me again. Sophia and I dated for a two years before getting married on July 2, 1996. Sid grows a foot and turns three. After this day, my life made a whole one eighty and I was free.





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